What would you say are the top 3 to 5 ways in which attorneys should be using LinkedIn on a daily basis to actually build their practice and attract/identify new clients? I’m looking for concrete ideas—not simply, build your network and post status updates. Of course you need to have a complete and up-to-date profile. Of course you need to make periodic status updates. Or course you want to find new connections and build your LinkedIn network. But once you’ve done those things… then what?
Good question. In LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, we focus on the three basic building blocks of Linkedin – your Profile, Connections and Participation. The book shows readers how to edit their Profile, build their connections, and begin to post Updates and get involved in Groups. But once you’ve done those basics, it might be time to take your LinkedIn participation to the next level.
The short answer to the question is to build upon those concepts and the basic building blocks by taking them a bit further. Some of the answer will depend on your practice area and audience or purpose for using LinkedIn, but some examples include:
- Continuously updating your Profile and tweaking the language so that it resonates better with your target audience(s). For example, if a lay person reviewed your LinkedIn Profile, would they immediately know what you actually do for your clients? Would they be able to recognize who to refer to you or, if they are potential clients themselves, would they be able to identify themselves as people who would definitely need your services just from reading your Profile?
- Posting updates that are not necessarily about you, but that provide value to your network – items or articles that would help them in their business or personal life
- Using LinkedIn’s new Publishing platform to write longer posts of interest to your audience
- Finding and joining Groups that will get you directly in front of your audience; leveraging your connections’ connections to get (real life) introductions and build your network; and using LinkedIn to find potential clients (See my previous posts here and here)
- Using the Search tools to identify specific individuals you would like to meet; see what you have in common that might create opportunities; identify their needs based on what they post
- Joining (or starting your own) Groups and actively participating in discussions and posting content to the Groups that you find relevant
- Looking at the Profiles of your target audience to see what Groups they belong to and whether those Groups might contain your target audience
- Using LinkedIn as a corollary to your real-world networking. For example, use LinkedIn as a follow up tool when you meet new people; look at LinkedIn to see who in your network is in a particular city you may be visiting so you can have a face to face meeting; and using the tools in Contacts to remind you to stay in touch with your network regularly
Just like real-world networking, the best way to get the most out of LinkedIn or any other ‘community’ or ‘network’ is to keep working it on a regular basis. Engage with others. Be interesting. Be present. Help others – make introductions and connections, answer questions, and demonstrate your knowledge.
To answer the question more directly, 3-5 things lawyers should do daily (or even weekly) on LinkedIn are:
- Review Group discussions (either by looking at the emails you receive from LinkedIn or by going to your Groups main page and looking at the "feed" of discussions) to see whether there is anything you could contribute value to.
- Review LinkedIn invitations, accept those that are appropriate and send a personalized thank you message to those who invite you to connect so that you move the conversation along. Send personalized invitations to connect to new connections you met during the week, and take a few minutes to review the "People You May Know" suggestions and "Who's Viewed Your Profile" for potential new LinkedIn connections.
- Review connections of new connections to see if there is anyone you would like to meet or be introduced to; look at their Groups for potential new Groups to join.
- Skim through updates from your network to see where you can engage by commenting, liking or sharing others' updates.
- Post network updates that provide information of interest to your network.
On a monthly basis you may want to do things like weeding out Groups that are inactive or are not the right fit for you, following up with connections you haven't been in touch with in a while, and reviewing your Profile to see if any updates or changes are necessary.
Want to learn more about what you can do with LinkedIn? Join me on a free webinar on August 21 at 2 p.m. Eastern sponsored by MyCase. Register at: http://bit.ly/1pbgjUc